Hospital – What to Pack When Family Can’t Visit

Apr 13, 2020

Bottom Line: In case of hospitalization …

By Regina Schauer and Cheryl K. David

Much of this was originally written by Cheryl K David after one of our other attorney friends’ wife came down with the virus.  (His wife is now off the ventilator and seems to be recovering!) I have modified the original article because I thought some things needed to be added to it.  Please let me know, if you find it helpful by saying so on Google Reviews or our Slaton Schauer Law Firm website Thanks!

Two things happened last week to precipitate this column. Both of our law firms have been receiving calls from clients who were worried about contracting COVID-19 and were asking what they should bring with them to the hospital if they needed to go there for an extended stay. Second, we received a message from an attorney friend in South Carolina whose wife is battling COVID-19 in intensive care.

Our friend described how hard it has been to be apart from his wife, and how difficult it has been to rely on updates from heavily burdened medical staff. When he finally reached a nurse at 2 a.m., he said, the nurse told him that his wife had been trying to call him on her cellphone earlier. However, she was heavily sedated and couldn’t remember her unlock code.

That struck a chord. We are simply not prepared for hospital admissions during which our family and friends are not allowed to visit or stay with us.

Since we can’t rely on family to bring us what we need after admission, we need to be prepared beforehand. We need a plan. So, while I pray you do not have to use this list, I suggest you pack a bag with the following to be prepared, just in case.

I know there are things on the list that someone in intensive care will not be able to use and there are probably some things missing from the list that you will wish you had, but these are the items we suggest putting in your overnight bag in case hospitalization becomes necessary:

  • Documents and paperwork secured in a folder or large envelope, including copies of legal documents such as: your HIPAA authorization, Health Care Power of Attorney, Medical Directive, and your Durable Power of Attorney (often called a Property Power of Attorney).
  • A list of medicines and vitamins that you take
  • Insurance information
  • Phone numbers for family and close friends, and codes/passwords which may be necessary for someone to use on your behalf — like the code to open your phone.
  • Eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.
  • Cellphone (with unlock code taped on it), phone charger and extension cord.
  • Headphones, ear plugs and eye mask.
  • Paper and pens.
  • Night gowns, night shirts, robe, non-slip socks, cardigan,
  • Pillow and a blanket (I highly suggest one of those electric throws (like an electric blanket but smaller) Hospitals are often very cold to many people and often when your body is under stress it responds by being even colder than normal.) With busy staff, it is often hard to get enough blankets to stay warm.
  • EXTENSION CORD with more than one plug (both for this and other appliances like your cell phone)
  • Lip balm, moisturizer, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb and brush.
  • Makeup remover/cleanser – if you are admitted without much warning, or wear makeup into the hospital, it is impossible or uncomfortable to get it off with the soap in hospitals. It will add to your comfort to use your own moisturing type face products)
  • Photos, small personal items, Bible, books, magazines, Sudoko or whatever small thing makes you happy. I would highly suggest you get a public library card (which you can apply to online in most places right now) and download the “Libby” and “Hoopla” apps onto your phone or tablet. These give you FREE access to online music, movies, books, audio books, magazines, etc.
  • And, finally, notecards and/or small gifts to show your appreciation for the team of medical professionals who will be helping you. Just a little extra kindness shown to them can go a long way in such a stressful situation! It will make you feel better to do this as well as make their day!


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